79% of European Shoppers will Cut Online Spending in Significant Downturn, E-commerce Retailers Must Act Fast to Protect Themselves - Survey by Mollie

  • E-Commerce
  • 14.09.2022 11:15 am

Mollie, a payment industry pioneer and one of Europe’s fastest-growing financial service providers, today unveils the initial findings of its European Ecommerce Report. Mollie surveyed 3,000 online shoppers across Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The findings reveal consumers’ pessimistic outlook on the economy, which could significantly influence buying behaviour and impact e-commerce businesses. The report also highlights changes in post-pandemic consumer expectations that can help e-commerce businesses to drive growth in tough conditions.

The economic outlook and impact on online spending

More than half of European consumers (53%) think their country’s economic situation will worsen over the next 12 months, and 27% say they believe it will significantly decline during that period. Austrian consumers were most pessimistic, with 62% expecting the economic situation to worsen. Dutch respondents were the most optimistic, with less than half (45%) anticipating a negative trend. 

If the economic situation were to worsen significantly, almost four in five (79%) consumers would spend less online, with 30% saying they’d spend a lot less. UK consumers plan to cut back the most, with 85% indicating that they will spend less and 46% a lot less), while Dutch consumers will be most reserved – 74% say they will spend less, and 20% will spend a lot less.

European e-commerce consolidates COVID gains

The much-anticipated decline in e-commerce, driven by shoppers returning to the high street post-pandemic, does not appear to be happening. More than a third (35%) of European consumers now shop online more than before the pandemic. Nearly half (48%) say they plan to shop online as much as they currently do in the next 12 months, with 26% saying they will shop online more and 27% shopping in-store more. UK consumers are most likely to shop online more (29%), and Belgian consumers will shop online less (23%). In short, European e-commerce has consolidated the gains it achieved during the pandemic.

Driving e-commerce sales in difficult trading conditions

To continue driving growth in the face of economic headwinds, e-commerce merchants must understand what drives European consumers to buy, what puts them off, and the primary cart abandonment triggers. The report includes the latest data on all of this.

Factors driving purchases

Mollie asked online shoppers to identify the top three capabilities that online retailers can make available to increase their likelihood of buying from them:

  1. A quick and efficient payment method: a key factor in convincing 78% of respondents to buy from a specific retailer. This is most important in Austria (84%) and less so in Belgium (72%). 

  2. Efficient shipping times: 76% of consumers want fast shipping. This was highest in Austria (78%) and marginally less important for German consumers (72%)

  3. Free returns: 73% of European online shoppers want the option of free returns. 80% of Austrian consumers want free returns, though Belgian shoppers were least concerned (65%)

Ecommerce turn-offs

Several factors discourage consumers from shopping with a merchant. The top three are:

  1. High shipping costs and taxes: 58% of shoppers say they are less likely to shop at an online merchant if the shipping costs or taxes are too high. This sentiment was highest in Austria (63%) and less so among Dutch customers (53%)

  2. High prices compared to larger retailers: 53% of European consumers are more likely to shop at larger retailers because the prices are lower. German shoppers are most cost conscious (58%), while Dutch shoppers are slightly less price sensitive (48%)

  3. Worries around payment security: 50% of consumers say that concerns about payment security discourage them from shopping with some merchants. French shoppers are the most security-sensitive (59%), German shoppers are the least sensitive (43%)

Cart abandonment issues

Cart abandonment is the enemy of every e-commerce merchant, costing the world’s retailers trillions of Euros each year. Respondents reported three main drivers for abandonment:

  1. High shipping costs or taxes: 61% of shoppers abandon purchases at checkout when presented with high shipping costs or taxes. This is most prevalent in Austria (71%) and less of an issue in Belgium (45%)

  2. Worries around payment security: 54% of European consumers cite payment security concerns as a reason for cancelling orders. French shoppers are most worried (60%), and German consumers the least (49%)

  3. Not offering preferred payment methods: 45% of respondents report that if a merchant does not support their preferred payment method, they’ll abandon their purchase. This is most acute amongst Austrian shoppers (58%), and less of an issue in France (35%)

“Online shopping is holding the gains made during the pandemic, but consumers now demand a seamless, friction-free experience from e-commerce businesses,” says Ken Serdons, Chief Commercial Officer at Mollie. “Online retailers must make themselves more attractive than their competitors. Our research identifies the key things retailers can do to gain a competitive edge ahead of the year’s busiest shopping period.

“First, payments are crucial. Our data shows that offering a quick and efficient payment method is the primary capability a retailer needs to provide and highlights how worries about payment security and not offering the correct payment options will increase cart abandonments. It also reveals that almost all consumers consider it important that retailers offer the payment methods they prefer to use and doing so drives customer loyalty.

“Second, shipping is critical. Online shops must provide a variety of options, but merchants must be clear and transparent about the costs before shoppers check out.

“Finally, European consumers consider free returns very important. This can be a headache for e-commerce merchants, but they can integrate excellent third-party services into their e-commerce tech stack to seamlessly manage this process,” says Serdons.

Mollie enables merchants to meet their consumer demand through simplified financial services, offering all global and locally relevant payment methods and a custom-branded checkout to ensure a seamless, reliable checkout experience. 

Driven by a commitment to growth, Mollie allows companies of all sizes to compete on better terms by providing effortless, convenient, and frictionless payments so they can focus on running their business.

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